Australian Charities Underutilising Social Media for Fundraising
13 October 2011 at 10:53 am
The majority of Australian Not for Profit organisations use social media, but only one-third are using it to fundraise. Social-media specialist and founder of Social Mediology, Kate vanderVoort shares her tips on how Not for Profits can use social media to increase their fundraising efforts.
Do you use social media in your organisation? Do you use it to fundraise?
Pro Bono Australia’s social media survey last year showed that of the 71% of charities in Australia using social media only 34% of you are using it to fundraise.
We’ve all heard the saying that social media is not a silver bullet. “Build it and they will come” just doesn’t work. A social media strategy that generates results by way of donations, new members and volunteers as well as increased awareness for your brand, requires strategy, policy and dedicated time and resource. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Here are some hints and tips on using social media to increase your fundraising efforts:
Strategy: Like any endeavor, your social media efforts need to be based on a strategic approach. Set aside a couple of hours with key internal (and possibly external) stakeholders in your organisation and set measurable objectives for your social media strategy. Ensure that your social media strategy integrates with and supports your marketing and fundraising efforts. This is not a stand-alone activity.
Always remember to build relationship first, add value and then sell or fundraise. A solid strategy and communications calendar will help you plan your key messaging and ensure that fundraising is integrated into story telling, activities, volunteering and content rather than just a cold ask.
Policy: Develop a simple policy that guides staff on their personal and professional use of social media. Only 21% of Not for Profits have a social media policy. There are more and more legal cases unfolding in employee relations due to no social media policy being in place. There are plenty of templates available on the internet if you do a search. Remember that none of that replaces good legal advice, but it can give you a starting point.
There are some innovative charities in Australia who are training and resourcing their staff to use social media personally to benefit the organisation. This is starting to see good results, supporting staff as brand advocates, who lead you to your next best volunteers, members and donors.
Integration: Ensure that your social media efforts are integrated into all online and offline activities. This includes website, blogs, email footers, brochures, products, shop fronts, promotional items, wherever you have space. Remember that no other medium gives you daily access to your donors and supporters!
Once people friend, follow, ‘Like’ or love you……you can connect with them daily and remain front of mind for repeat donations and other engagement.
Make it easy to contribute: Charities in Australia are not able to use the causes feature that raises millions in the USA (unless registered in the USA). This doesn’t mean that you can’t develop a donation platform within Facebook or lead people back to your online donation portal, through links and calls to action. For small charities, there are free (or low cost) apps that you can install right on Facebook to accept donations. This doesn’t require a developer and provides an even playing field for you to be one of the first accepting donations through Facebook.
Engage: Remember that social media isn’t about you pushing out your message to a group of people. It is about dialogue, conversation and user generated content. Encourage your community to contribute and facilitate dialogue between people. Not for Profits are very well placed to share inspirational stories and show the human side of what you do. If you listen, you’ll hear your community has fabulous ideas about your organisation, what you do and what you might be able to do in the future.
People who connect with you online, share your content and comment/post or retweet are endorsing your cause and sharing their endorsement with their networks. What other people say about you in social media is far more important that what you say about yourself!
Start small, be consistent and grow a thriving online community. The donations, volunteers, members and awareness of your cause and brand will emerge from the dedicated staff and supporters who love what you do!
Social Media LIVE! is a half day social media course specifically designed for small business and the Not for Profit sector. The special charity rate makes this an affordable way to learn all the strategy, tips and tricks for making Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn work for your organisation.
Kate vanderVoort, founder of Social Mediology, is a social media specialist with more than 15 years experience in the Not for Profit sector in marketing and fundraising. Kate provides social media coaching, in-house training, policy and strategy consultation and public workshops, with a special focus on the Not for Profit sector.